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Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Weekly Highlights (6/1/2012)

Anna Salem,
ACLU of Northern California
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June 1, 2012

In the digital age that we live in today, we are constantly exposing our personal information online. From using cell phones and GPS devices to online shopping and sending e-mail, the things we do and say online leave behind ever-growing trails of personal information. The ACLU believes that Americans shouldn’t have to choose between using new technology and keeping control of your private information. Each week, we feature some of the most interesting news related to technology and civil liberties that we’ve spotted from the previous week.

‘First Amendment rights can be terminated’: When cops, cameras don’t mix
[MSNBC – Bob Sullivan]
“Tales of reporters, protestors and citizen journalists being threatened or arrested for filming law enforcement officials during disputes are on the rise, critics say, with Occupy Wall Street protests a lightning rod for these incidents. The National Press Photographers Association claims it has documented 70 such arrests since September and, in May, called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to focus attention on the issue.”

Bill banning warrantless cellphone tracking clears California Senate
[Los Angeles Times –Michelle Maltais]
“California is one step closer to banning law enforcement from tapping the data from the tracking device in your palm, pocket or purse without a warrant. The state Senate passed a bill Wednesday that requires a warrant to seek access from wireless carriers to the near-constant data stream coming from our cellphones.”

San Antonio schools to use scanner technology in student IDs
[Los Angeles Times – Matt Pearce]
“The Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas, will embark on an experimental project next year to track thousands of students at two schools by putting scanner chips in their ID cards.”
See Also Students will be tracked via chips in IDs [My San Antonio – Francisco Vara-Orta]

ACLU Backs Up Twitter In Court Over Attempt to Defend Users’ Rights
[ACLU – Aden Fine]
We filed a friend-of-the-court brief today in New York state court in support of Twitter’s efforts to protect the constitutional rights of one of its users. As we posted earlier this month, Twitter took a great step to defend its users’ rights by filing a motion to quash a subpoena that the District Attorney’s Office in Manhattan issued in connection with the prosecution of an Occupy Wall Street protester.

Can Your Mobile Apps Be Trusted? [INFOGRAPHIC]
[Mashable – Sam Laird]
“Mobile apps sure are handy little doodads, telling you what’s going on, where to go and who’s nearby. But can they be trusted with your privacy?”

In House Hearing, ACLU Tells Congress to Fix FISA
[ACLU – Michelle Richardson]
Yesterday, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security held a hearing on the government’s warrantless wiretapping program (watch here). The law authorizing the program, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, expires at the end of this year.

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